Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Egregious professional misconduct—For Academics Only

On November 20, 2009, I gave Boston University Professor Julie H. Sandell, Associate Provost for Faculty Development, a 100-plus page narrative describing years of serious ethical violations and professional misconduct I had observed or personally experienced in the Boston University College of Communication--professional misconduct that has in more than one instance, knowingly or unknowingly, been aided, abetted, or endorsed by the University Office of General Counsel—not surprisingly, appointees from the John Silber era still treat faculty the way they were taught to treat them by King John. Silber's influence lives on. The old BU dies hard. After meeting with me twice to discuss the issues my memo raised, Professor Sandell told me that the University Ombuds, Ms. Francine Montemurro, would be a more appropriate person to deal with the problems I had documented. I met with Ms. Montemurro a few weeks later, and on March 22, 2010, gave her a revised and expanded version of my original narrative account, which now ran to more than 125 pages, supplemented with more than 200 additional pages of documentary attachments (dozens of emails, memos, and reports contemporaneous with the events) that established the basic facts beyond doubt or dispute. In the months that followed, I wrote numerous follow-up emails to both administrators, and met with Ms. Montemurro in person on numerous occasions to follow up on my filing or communicate additional facts to her in person. I told both BU administrators that the written information and set of written documents I had submitted only summarized a much longer and more extensive series of unethical actions and events that I stood ready to provide a wealth of additional information about, and to meet with them to discuss, at their convenience. (The cover letter I sent Ms. Montemurro in March 2010 is reprinted on the following site page, available via the side menu:  "Letter to the University Ombuds--Events That Almost Defy Belief....")

In the three years since I submitted the original set of documents, I have provided approximately 100 pages of additional material to Ms. Montemurro. But to my surprise and disappointment, no action has been taken; nothing of importance has been done in response to the material I provided. In three years, I have been asked to provide not one scrap of additional information or supplementary documentation, beyond what I already sent or mentioned on my own initiative. There has been no investigation I have been asked to contribute to, participate in, or to provide additional documentation in connection with. And, most disappointing of all, no remedy, redress, or indemnification for the acts of financial, bureaucratic, and personal punishment I have experienced has been offered by the university. Silence has been the most audible response to what now amounts to something in excess of 400 pages of careful, detailed documentation. 

Meanwhile, the unethical events and unprofessional actions described in my original and supplementary filings (and other unethical and unprofessional events and actions I didn't have space to mention) have continued unabated, uncorrected, and (as far as I can tell) completely unacknowledged by Boston University administrators at any level. Only a few months ago, in fact, when I raised the subject in a meeting chaired by my Dean, he (Tom Fiedler), my Chairman (Paul Schneider), and a member of the University Office of General Counsel (Erika Geetter) ridiculed my reports and told me that the things I had reported had never actually happened. As an illustration of the respect with which I am long accustomed to being treated by Dean Fiedler and Chairman Schneider, I was actually told to my face that I was mentally ill to have said the things I had--or, it was implied, was simply lying. So much for collegial respect at Boston University. So much for taking reports of unethical behavior seriously.

The disrespect, the mockery, the implied accusation that I was a liar--if I wasn't simply out of my mind--didn't really surprise me. Boston University faculty are used to those kinds of responses from administrators. If you don't have a reply for something, you can call someone a name or attack their character and morals (or mental state), or treat them so abusively that they will quit in discouragement and disgust. (For interested readers, I have more than you ever want to know on this subject on two other site pages: "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats—Being Banned in Boston" and "How (Not) to Conduct a Meeting—Shouts, Name-Calling, Personal Attacks, Threats, Punishments.") There was more than thirty years of that kind of treatment of faculty during Silber's presidency, and the administrative and legal staff Silber assembled did his anti-faculty bidding without protest and turned a blind eye to the abuses of academic freedom he perpetrated for more than three decades. They functioned as good soldiers all, and the carry-overs from that era (of whom there are many, including on the Boston University legal staff) continue to be good soldiers for the cause--however antithetical to faculty rights the cause may be. So the sarcasm and nastiness and general indifference to ethical issues by my Dean, my Chairman, and the representative from the University Office of General Counsel didn't catch me off guard, but I have to say that the "it never happened" defense did--because it flies in the face of so many provable facts. Head-in-the-sand denial is a preposterous choice as a university defense since so much of the misconduct I (and other faculty members) have experienced has had so many witnesses. Many other faculty members have been present at the meetings where I have been yelled at, verbally abused, had my publications threatened with being censored, and been told that the university would attempt to destroy my professional reputation by making a formal posting against me on the official Boston University web site. And the secret and surreptitious meetings held by my Dean and other individuals in my College to make false and slanderous statements about me to students involved large numbers of students, any one of whom can verify that the "abuse Carney to his students" sessions took place. There are dozens of people who saw all of these things happen. Beyond that, many of the events I have reported are documented in writing--like the motion passed to force me to take down my web site, or the memos from my Dean verifying his reading, without my knowledge or permission, of emails I wrote to my students, his distribution of other emails by me that he was not given permission to read to other individuals, and the de facto censorship of his angry (and obscene) written excoriations of me, on more than one occasion, for having written things he did not approve of or for submitting reports he did not agree with, accompanied with explicit threats about the negative impact my expression of my views would have on my pay and position. I alluded to these facts at the meeting, but according to my Dean, my Chairman, and the University Counsel, I was simply making it all up. It was mental illness. That was their story and they were sticking to it. All of those other people who had been present must have been subject to a mass delusion; and the threatening, nasty emails and memos my Dean sent forbidding me to tell my students certain things or warning me about the negative consequences of my reports on my position must have been forgeries. Who is the mentally ill one in this picture? Answer: Any senior university administrator who falls for a present or past College of Communication administrator's explanations of what really took place. 

The important point is that not only have none of these problems been addressed and nothing really changed in my College, but many of the unethical actions and forms of professional misconduct I described in the documents I gave Ms. Montemurro three years ago have actually gotten worse and become more flagrant and blatant during the 2010-2013 period (viz., the verbal abuse I have been subjected to at meetings, the hits to my pay and annual evaluations, and the serious threats to academic freedom and my freedom to share my ideas with my students). As the recent meeting chaired by my Dean that I described above shows, it's now safe to publicly ridicule my reports and to call me names for having submitted them--when I am not being subjected to even more tangible repercussions for having filed them, including having my evaluations lowered, my pay docked or frozen (it is currently frozen), and having support for my teaching and research withdrawn. There is something deeply disturbing about this picture, about senior administrators at the level of the Provost and President who not only tolerate but apparently encourage and reward acts of cover-up and denial at the administrative levels immediately below them.

I have said elsewhere that I am doing more than fighting for myself, to dig my way out from the punishments that for almost ten years have been inflicted on me. In the largest sense, I am fighting for the soul of the institution I have given much of my professional life to, and working for the good of future generations of faculty and students. That is what really keeps me going--and motivates me to make these blog postings as a last-ditch appeal to the university administration after years of intra-institutional appeals have failed. An academic institution is its principles and ethics; it is its core values. When those values are eroded or corrupted, nothing else matters. Boston University, and the College of Communication in particular, have a long way to go in this respect. They have a lot of self-examination to do; a lot of healing still to undergo. I appeal, for the hundredth time, to the university President and Provost to address the abuses I list below (and others). Denial at the highest administrative levels, willful blindness, stone-walling, and silence about what has gone on--and, appallingly enough, continues to go on--at lower administrative levels will only delay the process of recovering and rebuilding the values that the university depends for its very existence on. 

Near the end of the long narrative account I gave Professor Sandell and Ms. Montemurro, I listed, in extreme summary form, a number of the basic academic issues at stake and a few of the fundamental principles of academic conduct that have been egregiously violated by Boston University administrators (many of which continue to be violated at present). That list appears below in a lightly rewritten and updated version that includes several (but not all) of the events of the past three years. For anyone who has spent his life in academia, as I have, the list is a shocking one--a genuine academic disgrace. It itemizes dozens of violations of the most fundamental academic principles of free expression and fair treatment. It lists threats that affect the entire academic enterprise. These values are important ones. They are the very qualities that make a university different from other institutions in our society. That is why I am convinced that they are worth fighting for.

But for the non-academic reader, I’d emphasize that the list is quite abstract and general, and may chiefly be of interest to other professors. For anyone looking for a less abstract consideration of the ethical violations and acts of professional misconduct I have observed or experienced at Boston University, many earlier pages of the site provide detailed descriptions of specific events that the list refers to more theoretically.  

A few recommendations (all available via the side menu) on alternate readings: Parts 1 and 2 of "Ten years of Administrative Retaliation for Speaking Up to Defend the Freedom of Academic Expression Inside and Outside the Classroom” and "Lynch MobsSecret and Surreptitious Meetings to Foment Students Against a Teacher" provide more easily understandable narrative surveys of the outrages against academic freedom conducted by present and past Boston University administrators that I have personally experienced. A number of earlier site pages also include a number of primary documents connected with the attempts of Boston University administrators to control what I (and at least a dozen other faculty members) have been allowed to speak and write. Many of the victims of this treatment have been forced out of the university, but I have stayed to attempt to change the policy for the benefit of future groups of faculty and students. "Public Shaming  as an Administrative Technique," "How (Not) to Conduct a Meeting—Shouts, Name-Calling, Personal Attacks, Threats, Punishments," and "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats—Being Banned in Boston," to cite only three examples, reprint memos and email threads connected with the verbal abuse, threats, and acts of censorship I myself have experienced at the hands of B.U. administrators for expressing my principled views in meetings and memos. —Ray Carney

To the University Ombuds
A Summary Listing of Some of the Fundamental
Principles of Academic Life That Have Been Violated at Boston University

Boston University administrators continue their policy of administrative, personal, and financial retribution against a faculty member for the principled expression of his views in professional meetings, personal interactions, and memos. A faculty member is punished (personally, financially, and in his annual evaluations) by the university Provost, the College of Communication Dean, the Film and Television Department Chairman, and the Film Studies Program Director if he expresses views different from the administrator, or even worse, if he expresses concerns about ethical violations, procedural violations, or professional misconduct by any of the above figures in his speech, memos, or publications. (A note to readers of the site: See “Part 1: Ten years of Administrative Retaliation for Speaking Up to Defend the Freedom of Academic Expression Inside and Outside the Classroom.”)

Boston University administrators continue their policy of systematically undermining and nullifying the institutional protections of the tenure system—to make the possession of tenure effectively meaningless and worthless—either by making threats designed to silence the outspoken faculty member (e.g. threats to “dig up dirt” to get him fired) or, if that tactic does not succeed in silencing him or her, by making the conditions of his or her job untenable. In the first case, an administrator goes through a faculty member’s personnel file and past employment history to dredge up something to use against the faculty member or threaten the faculty member about the revelation of, or deputes students, staff members, and others to “investigate,” “report on,” and “file complaints” about the faculty member—to allow the administrator to deceitfully and fraudulently manufacture “a case” against the faculty member in order to punish him, fire him, or convince him “voluntarily” to resign. In the second, the faculty member’s courses are assigned to inappropriate classrooms, support for his research and travel is cut or eliminated, normal and deserved pay increases are withheld to persuade him to quit, tenure or no tenure.

Public ceremonies of shaming and humiliation are administered to undermine the reputation of the faculty member and destroy the relationship of trust and respect that exists between a teacher, his students, and those with whom he works. In having his name and reputation smeared by being publicly abused and berated in front of staff, students, and colleagues, the faculty member’s teaching, research and publication efforts, mentoring relations with students, and relations with his colleagues are made so difficult, acrimonious, and painful that he will resign his position, tenure or no tenure. (A note to readers of the site: See “Public Shaming as an Administrative Technique.”)

In a variation on the preceding theme, colleagues are deputed to say negative things about the faculty member to a journalist for publication.

There have been numerous violations of academic freedom by the administrative imposition of undebated, undiscussed, and unilaterally imposed edicts concerning limitations on the intellectual content of courses, the organization of courses, and the methods of student evaluation and grading employed in courses.

College of Communication administrators have imposed a variety of personal, administrative, and financial punishments on a faculty member who speaks out against the preceding (and other) course changes in an effort to defend his right to teach and evaluate his students in the ways he deems best, to avoid compromising their educational experiences.

College of Communication administrators have conducted unethical “fishing expeditions” where students or others have been asked to “investigate” a faculty member via a series of secret and surreptitious meetings organized by the administrator without informing the faculty member (let alone giving the faculty member an opportunity to be present, know what he is being accused of, and what students are being told about him). The so-called “student investigation” has been deliberately and systematically prejudiced to create a negative outcome (in the complete absence of any actual compromising facts) by having the authority figure fraudulently tell the students or others that there are “problems” with the faculty member and using the power of his office to pressure them to corroborate the completely fictitious and false reports. The effect, indeed the goal, of telling the students lies about their teacher has not only been to irreparably bias, corrupt, and invalidate all subsequent student reports about their teacher, but to undermine the teacher’s relationship with his students by creating an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion. (A note to readers of the site, to read more about the unethical techiques employed, see "Lynch Mobs--Secret and Surreptitious Meetings to Foment Students Against a Teacher.”)

The climate of open inquiry and free expression in a faculty member’s courses has been lethally chilled by turning his students into undeclared, secret “spies” on their teacher, with the students being pressured to submit coerced, suborned, and perjured reports about their teacher at the urging of a respected senior administrator—even as the teacher who is the subject of the activity is deliberately kept in the dark about the occurrence of the meetings where the students have been told lies about him. Even though there has been nothing to be discovered (and nothing has ever been discovered or formally charged against the teacher since there is nothing to be discovered), the intended goal has been easy to achieve—to undermine respect for the teacher and destroy the classroom experience, making the performance of his duties so difficult that he will agree to resign his position.

The faculty member’s knowledge of the secret meetings and the results of the so-called “investigation” have been withheld for weeks or months (and the occurrence of some of the meetings has been outright denied) preventing the faculty member from dealing with complaints or problems in a timely and ameliorative fashion, or from even being aware of what is being done to turn his students against him. 

Even after the events are concluded--after the secret meetings with the teacher's students have been held, the poisonous and destructive lies have been disseminated, and the teacher's students have been pressured by the administrator to corroborate the (completely fictitious and false) reports of misconduct (though there is nothing to be found in the end)--the faculty member has still not been allowed to see the results of the so-called “investigation” (invalid and biased and fraudulent as it has been), making it impossible for the faculty member to respond to the charges. Administrative conduct that cannot bear the light of day must be kept in the dark. And continues to be kept in the dark to this day.

To be specific, the faculty member has not been allowed to know the names of any of his accusers or the dates, places, and details of the events he is alleged (by the self-interested administrator, without any proof whatsoever) to be guilty of, making it impossible for the faculty member to meet with or cross-examine them, in order to be able to reply to or refute any of the potentially suborned and perjured statements.

In a completely separate set of actions from the previous ones, months or years later, having learned their lesson from more senior administrators, other College of Communication faculty members and administrators have held an additional series of secret and surreptitious meetings with individual students in their offices or held group meetings with students during or after class devoted to criticizing the ideas, teaching, publications, and character of a faculty member. These individuals have deliberately, consciously (and shamelessly) attempted to foment hatred, dislike, or fear of the faculty member by telling students that that they should “watch out for” him and should avoid his courses, or by offering to waive requirements to take them. Saying any of these things to even one student is equivalent to saying them to every student, since gossip this nasty (however unfounded) travels at the speed of light.

Teachers and administrators have consciously and appallingly abused the power they hold over students, who are in a dependent relation to them (being graded by them, needing job placements from them, needing letters of recommendation from them) to pursue their own personal vendettas against a faculty member, deliberately stirring up sentiment against the faculty member, actively soliciting letters criticizing the faculty member, pressuring students to participate in the acts of criticism. Students are pitted against each other in rival camps. The result is that the educational experience is destroyed and students are divided into rival camps of supporters and attackers. (A note to readers of the site: The death threat I describe on “Playing with Souls/Death Threats—Cynical Administrative Power-games," shows how far from intellectual, how incendiary, emotionally manipulative, and purely ad hominem, the attacks on me were.)

The same faculty members cynically and unethically assisted in the actual composition of the letters of complaint by telling the students what to complain about, how to word their complaints, and, in some cases, in actually writing or editing their letters, and then submitted the suborned, coerced, manufactured, or written or edited statements to other administrators, while concealing their involvement in their creation.

The same faculty members deceptively told students that a faculty member’s expression of “controversial” views (e.g. discussions of the limitations of “feminist” or “multicultural” approaches to art) in the classroom or in his publications was evidence of “sexism,” “homophobia,” or “intolerance.” The deplorable result is to establish a de facto standard of “political correctness” explicitly intended to punish political or institutional “incorrectness” in lecture presentations, classroom discussions, and a faculty member’s publications, and to apply pressure on a faculty member to limit the expression of his views, to poison the minds of students with slanderous falsehoods about their teacher, and to chill free and open discussion and debate inside and outside the classroom. This has been a long-standing problem at Boston University, as it was run by John Silber, and in its current post-Silber incarnation represents the greatest possible loss to the culture of free exploration, inquiry, and expression. (A note to readers of the site: “See Real Diversity—Fostering and Protecting Intellectual Minorities and Resisting the Seductions of Group Thinking and Feeling” and "Making a Living or Making a Life--the Purpose of an Education.")


The violation of academic freedom by university administrators directing a faculty member to avoid “controversial” content in course readings, screenings, lectures, and discussions, or anything that might “upset” or “disturb” his students. This threat to academic freedom of expression was officially actually endorsed by the Office of the University General Counsel and the Office of the University Provost, with the Provost telling me to avoid making "controversial" statements in my internet publications.

Violations of academic freedom and de facto acts of censorship by university administrators, extending as high as the Provost’s level, pressuring a faculty member to edit or suppress “objectionable” or “controversial” parts of his published work, and explicitly forbidding the faculty member from publishing his ideas about particular topics, not limited to but including ethical problems he has observed at Boston University. (A note to readers of the site. See "Making a Living or Making a Life—The Purpose of an Education," and "Losing Consciousness—Losing Invaluable Ways of Understanding.”)

The violation of academic freedom and de facto acts of censorship by university administrators telling a faculty member things he should and should not talk about in interviews, under the premise that because Boston University is funding the faculty member’s work, it has the right to control what the faculty member says in an interview.

The violation of academic freedom and de facto acts of censorship by the College of Communication Dean telling a faculty member things he should and should not write to students in email communications. Deeply disrespectful and abusive language was directed at the faculty member for what he had written. (A note to readers of the site: See “How Marketing and Branding Considerations Limit What Teachers Can Tell Their Students—or Suggest That They Read.”)

The avowed and acknowledged monitoring and control of faculty emails, telephone conversations, material printed on computers, and virtually all other faculty communications by the College of Communication Dean and his staff, a policy of surveillance, control, and intimidation which has an inevitably chilling effect on the free exchange of information and opinions between faculty members, and positively discourages and prevents criticisms of the Dean or College policies from being communicated, inside or outside the College--if the faculty member values his or her pay and position. (A note to readers of the site: See “The Monitoring and Control of Faculty Emails, Phone Calls, and Personal Expression in the Boston University College of Communication.”) 

Administrators, including the College of Communication Dean, the Department of Film and Television Chairman, and the university Provost, have, on numerous occasions and over the course of many years, threatened to censor a faculty member’s publications, to institutionally censure the faculty member for having published what he has, to punish him financially by “bringing in the [university] lawyers” to take legal action against him (with the effect of bankrupting him if he attempts to defend his academic right to freedom of speech), and to destroy his professional reputation and stature by making a formal internet posting attacking him on the Boston University web site--if he refuses to edit or suppress work he has published on the internet. A formal motion that the faculty member remove his entire faculty web site and all of his publications from the university server was passed at the instigation of the department Chairman. The motion included the threat to destroy his professional reputation with an internet posting on the Boston University web site. All of this--the acts of censorship, the threats to bankrupt him financially with legal actions, and the threat of an internet posting to destroy his reputation--was done publicly, much of it in writing, and with the full knowledge and consent of the most senior levels of the Boston University administration. The threats, both those acted on and those unacted on, in and of themselves, constitute de facto acts of censorship since only someone willing to be administratively punished, verbally abused, and publicly humiliated (at meetings and via an internet posting), and financially willing to incur enormous debts defending himself against the full force of the legal actions against him taken by the Boston University Office of General Counsel (the university lawyers), will dare to continue to publish his ideas, or maintain his faculty web site, in the face of such an onslaught. (A note to readers of the site: For more information about this series of events, see “Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats--Being Banned in Boston” and "A Tale of Two Schools" elsewhere on this site.)

The assignment of the faculty member’s classes to deliberately untenable times and classroom situations to punish him. His classes are scheduled at 8AM and 9PM on the same day, his films are required to be viewed on a small television in the front of the room (so that students would need binoculars to read the subtitles on foreign films)—while courses taught by junior colleagues are given preferential assignment on the junior colleague’s preferred days and times, in movie theater classrooms.

In a flagrant abuse of the annual evaluation process, the department Chairman and College of Communication Dean cherry-pick isolated bits of information to justify a low rating of a faculty member whose record the Chairman and Dean are determined to sabotage, while favorable information about the faculty member (e.g., glowingly positive course evaluations and important scholarly publications) is downplayed or argued-away. Though there is no space to go into the details, the annual review process has been and continues to be routinely and knowingly misused and abused in many other ways to favor or disfavor particular faculty members--to further private administrative agendas in promotion and tenure reviews, in bonus pay decisions, and in firing or termination cases. 

Additional violations of the rules and procedures of the Faculty Handbook by administrators failing to act on a faculty member’s repeated formal, official requests that his annual performance evaluations be reviewed and factual errors in the evaluations be corrected.

The unprofessional, unethical, and uncollegial conduct of a department Chairman in organizing and presiding over months of department meetings where a senior faculty member is shouted at, called names, and verbally harassed and abused by junior colleagues. A series of manifestly vicious, personal attacks are orchestrated by the department Chairman attacking the faculty member's character and morals. (A note to readers of the site: See two site pages: “How (Not) to Conduct a Meeting—Shouts, Name-Calling, Personal Attacks, Threats, Punishments” and "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats--Being Banned in Boston.”)

The unprofessional, unethical, and uncollegial conduct of a department Program Director [Roy Grundmann] in angrily berating and name-calling a colleague during program meetings.

The unprofessional and unethical conduct of the College of Communication Dean in organizing and presiding over a meeting where a senior faculty member is accused of being a liar and a felon (with no factual support for the charges), told he is mentally ill, ridiculed, and asked sarcastic questions about why he doesn’t quit and whether he is only teaching “for the money.” (A note to site readers: See “L'Affaire Rappaport: A case study in faculty treatment at Boston University.”)

Serious violations of privacy and confidentiality. The unprofessional and unethical conduct of the College of Communication Dean in reading and giving copies to others (including junior faculty and staff members) of private and confidential emails written by a faculty member to an individual with no affiliation with the university, without the knowledge or permission of the faculty member. The Dean then proceeded to object to what the faculty member had written in his emails and invited others to contribute to the criticism of the faculty member. (A note to readers of the site: See "Violations of Privacy and Confidentiality--A Continuing BU Saga.")

A range of copyright violations, including but not limited to: The violation of copyright by a Chairman who reproduces and distributes copyrighted material by a faculty member without permission of the copyright holder, and the repeated violation even after the faculty member protests. Copyright violations in reproducing the faculty member’s work on a university course web site without his knowledge or permission. Additional copyright violations in the use of pre-recorded material in university screening events.

Placing the faculty member in an impossible bureaucratic position by scheduling classes to conflict with the times of required meetings, and then criticizing and penalizing the faculty member for his inability to attend the meetings.

Penalizing a faculty member for failing to stay in touch with his department and requiring him to continue to fill out university reports during the period of his scheduled sabbatical (without informing him of the requirement) and subsequently penalizing him financially for not doing so.

Violations of the rules and procedures of the Faculty Handbook with respect to faculty reviews and promotions, the methods employed for faculty nominations to College standing committees, and numerous other issues, all in the service of rigging and gaming the promotion and tenure system to achieve desirable outcomes for preferred candidates. Allegedly “independent" or "outside” referees actually have undisclosed prior connections with the College, the Chairman, or the College Dean, and have also been pressured to submit favorable evaluations of particular candidates, even as their ties to the Chairman or Dean, and the fact that they have been "lobbied" or pressured to submit favorable evaluations have been concealed from more senior administrators. 

The falsification of their resumes by faculty members who have pressured students to give the faculty member undeserved production credit on their work.

The falsification, suppression, or deliberate suspension of the taking of minutes during a meeting, deliberately and calculatedly to conceal outrageously unprofessional statements and events. (A note to the reader of the site. For an especially egregious instance of incriminating meeting minutes being suppressed, see the end of the page titled "Censorship, Punishment, Abuse, Threats--Being Banned in Boston.”)

Grave conflicts of interest where one or more Boston University administrators, both inside the College of Communication at the level of the Chairman and Dean, and, above them, in the central administration of Boston University, at the level of the Provost, appoint themselves to rule on the ethics of their own past and present actions and the treatment of a professor under them, and where the Provost in particular appoints himself to be the judge and arbiter who rules on the ethics of the actions of a Dean whom he admits to be his “close good friend," a Provost who then administratively and financially retaliates against the faculty member who reported the unethical and unprofessional conduct of his "friend" and helped to remove him from office. (A note to readers of the site: See the account of the Provost's conduct and information about his cover-up of his conflict of interest in heading the investigation of his "friend" in “Lynch Mobs--Secret and Surreptitious Meetings to Foment Students Against a Teacher.”)

The refusal of the Provost and President to conduct an objective and unbiased investigation into the preceding events (and others I have documented), and their apparent willingness to trust the individuals who are themselves the potential perpetrators and alleged violators—from staff in the Office of General Counsel to administrators in the College of Communication—to report on, and assess the ethics of, their own involvement in these unprofessional and unethical activities can only be understood to be an act of willful blindness. (A note to readers of the site: See three other site pages for a deeper consideration of this topic: “A Letter to the Boston University Provost—Years of Willful Blindness at the Highest Administrative Levels,” “An Exchange with the President of Boston University—Learning from the Past Or Repeating It,” and the conclusion to “Part 2: Ten Years of Administrative Retaliation for Speaking Up to Defend the Freedom of Academic Expression Inside and Outside the Classroom.”)

* * *

In summary, the administrative events and actions I have described in this report [to the University Ombuds] (and other events I don’t have space to include) have had a seriously chilling effect on the open exploration and free exchange of ideas (if they have not ended it outright) for independent-minded faculty members in their interactions with administrators, conversations with colleagues, research and publications, and teaching—as well as an adverse effect on students in their classes and relations with their mentors and teachers. (As noted above, even what a faculty member writes students in emails is currently being monitored and de facto controlled by the Dean of the College of Communication.) Even more than the particular faculty member, the educational process is the loser. The result is the destruction, for both students and faculty members, of many of the most essential values of a teaching and research community--a community supposedly devoted to the unfettered exchange of ideas and the free expression of independent viewpoints—no matter how unfashionable, “controversial" (the adjective used by one Dean to tell me what kind of discussions I was to avoid in my classroom, and used by the university Provost to tell me what kind of statements I was to avoid in my internet publications), or truth-telling (the offense for which another Dean tried to stop me from sending emails to my students and punished me in my annual evaluations and pay).  

* * *


For further thoughts about the absolutely crucial importance of protecting free thought, expression, and interaction in a university, as well as about the fragility of this academic ideal—the real and present dangers posed to genuine openness by a university culture that has unconsciously internalized corporate values that are biased in favor of intellectual homogeneity, bureaucratic univocality, and political and ideological "correctness," see two other site pages: “Real Diversity—Fostering and Protecting Intellectual Minorities and Resisting the Seductions of Group Thinking and Feeling” and "The Two Cultures—The Conflict Between Business Values and the Life of the Mind.”